Do hamsters need light at night?
No, hamsters do not need light at night, on the contrary, their cage should not have any artificial light to not disturb their internal clock and shorten their lifespan. Hamsters are crepuscular or nocturnal animals in captivity and are well adapted to life in the dark.
How can I enjoy my hamster and play with him then ?
You are wondering how to enjoy and play with your hamster or at least just watch him since he only comes out once the room has become pitch black?
There are two solutions if you want to see your hamster at night without causing him health problems by turning on the light in his room:
1- Use low light at night
Don’t use the ceiling light, but just the nightstand (bedside) lamp and move it to the opposite corner of the room or install a dimmer switch to control the intensity of the light in the room.
The purpose of the first option is to reduce the light in the room where your hamster cage is located until it is like dusk.
Your hamster will not be disturbed by this low light, and you will be able to see him, play with him, tame him…etc.
If you do this, you should not leave this light on for more than half an hour and then leave the hamster completely in the dark.
2-See your hamster at night using red light:
In fact, using red light to illuminate your hamster’s cage at night is a common practice among parent hamsters.
It seems that hamsters do not see red light waves, so you will see your hamster, but he will always think he is in the dark.
Personally, I prefer to leave your hamster without light at night, you have up to an hour or more at dusk to interact with your hamster.
Let the dusk light come in through the window and enjoy your hamster until you can’t see it anymore.
But if your hamster is only nocturnal and only wakes up after 10 or 11 pm, I would prefer that you use the red light instead of turning on the light bulb in the room, which is very bad for your hamster.
3- Your hamster can also show up during the daylight hours
As a last option to see your hamster but not be able to interact with him is to wait and watch for moments when he leaves his nest in broad daylight, these are brief moments but your hamster wakes up several times during the day and makes inspection rounds in his cage.
You can therefore define the time intervals in which your hamster makes its appearances during the day.
4- Record your hamster during the night
This solution is to install pet cameras (Lumix GH5, Canon 70D & Canon G7X Mark II) and record all the activity of your hamster during the night
You will just prepare and direct the camera during the day to the cage of your hamster and watch it, tomorrow when you come back from school or work
What is the risk when I expose my hamster to light at night?
There has been a study on this subject where hamsters were exposed to light at night, which resulted in these hamsters becoming more aggressive and especially this disrupted their internal clock ( The primary circadian clock ) .
Their sleep period was disrupted, which decreased their lifespan by almost half.
One more thing, do not try to keep your hamster from sleeping during the day in order to adjust it to your lifestyle.
If you do this, you have signed your hamster’s death certificate.
Your hamster must be kept in total darkness during the night.
How do hamsters live and find their way in the dark?
Hamsters have adapted to their nocturnal life; they come out once night has fallen to avoid either predators or the heat of the day.
They find their way around at night thanks to their whiskers to detect objects , their highly developed sense of smell, but they also leave scent trails everywhere they go thanks to their two Scent Glands, which is why you can almost see them sliding or crawling on the ground.
It is enough for the hamster to follow the smell that it leaves on the ground and its excellent memory to find its burrow even after having travelled several miles sometimes.
The hamster’s eyesight is not very developed, they can only see a few inches in front of him.
That’s why it’s advisable to make noise so as not to surprise your hamster when you approach his cage ; otherwise , your hamster may bite you !
Why do hamsters prefer to live at night?
Hamsters are prey in their natural habitat ; in Syria, Europe and Russia, and to avoid being captured by owls, snakes, jackals and other predators, they prefer to come out only at dusk.
When there is not too much light, the hamster can move without risk of being captured by its predators while it has developed an arsenal of means that help it to move and find its way in the dark, I quote, its scent glands, its very sensitive sense of smell and its whiskers that help it avoid obstacles.
Isn’t there a breed of hamster that tolerates light at night more than the others?
Nope !!! , all hamsters wait for the night to become energetic and go out to search their cage for food, play with the wheel, take sand baths, make 100 turns in the cage … etc.
You should know that night for hamsters is like day for us, they are active when it is dark.
The darker it is, the happier the hamsters are, so they can sneak out and go wherever they want without being captured by their predators.
On the other hand, it has been found that Roborovskis are more tolerant of light than other hamsters and show themselves more than other hamsters during the day.
The Syrians on the other hand, are known to wait for nightfall and pitch black to show themselves , in captivity, they are rather nocturnal and not crepuscular.
How to ensure the ideal light for my hamster?
Hamsters will love to be exposed to natural light. All you have to do is install your hamster’s cage close to a window that faces outside.
And try to pull the curtain of this window only after dark.
Of course, you should not let the sun rays fall directly on the cage !
So your hamster will live according to the natural light and the succession of days and nights as if he is in his natural habitat.
If you need to turn on the light for just half an hour at dusk, I recommend that you turn it off every day at the same exact moment ( for example 8am ) so that your hamster is not disturbed.
By leaving the blind open at night, they can also get some moonlight, they can admire this too.
Do hamsters need light during the day ?
There are hamsters, installed in rooms that do not have windows facing the outside of the house.
So the hamster never sees the natural light of the day, it’s a real problem and you have to act, here is what you have to do .
You have to create the day and reproduce the light of the day by using a bulb and a Dimmer Switch:
In this case, the light in the room where the hamster is installed should remain on all day, and if it has a Dimmer Switch, reduce the intensity of light at dusk and turn it off completely half an hour or an hour after sunset in order to offer a light that resembles as much as possible that of the outside.
Should we cover the hamster cage during the day?
When it’s daytime, your hamster will snuggle up in his nest, it’s dark in there and he doesn’t need you to cover his cage.
It is just recommended not to turn on the light in the room and to leave the curtains open to let the light enter the room.
This way your hamster will know when dusk has arrived so he can wake up and start his daily activities.
Cover the cage only when you are doing a cleaning in the room like when you are using a vacuum cleaner to prevent your hamster from being scared and the dust in the cage too…
Also cover your hamster’s transport cage; this helps to calm them down.
Do hamsters need sunlight?
No, hamsters have light sensitive eyes and should never be exposed to direct sunlight which can be harmful to their eyes.
Hamster eyes are adapted to see in low light and even in the dark.
In nature, they spend their days sleeping, digging, cleaning the burrow …
And if they do come out of their burrow during the day, they often stay in the dark and never show themselves in areas directly lit by sunlight.
Just make sure that the room where your hamster is installed is bathed in natural light but not sunlight directly on the hamster cage.
It is not difficult to understand the needs of your hamster when it comes to light.
The best lighting for his cage is to expose him to natural light.
If you must light your hamster’s cage, do so with red light and only for a short time.